IBM Watson

Annihilating “Jeopardy!” champions and Chess champions has apparently whetted IBM Watson’s appetite for competition—it’s already gotten involved in tennis, and the latest sport it’s planning to dominate is basketball.

According to Motherboard, IBM and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. are collaborating on a new tool to build the perfect basketball team, and got its first test at the June 23 National Basketball Association draft. 

The tool is called IBM Sports Insights Central, and it analyzes players on a variety of dimensions, using data from game statistics, scouting video, social network analysis, health records, among many other elements, and compares the data against the current team.

“Through this solution, the Raptors will be able to reimagine their data to set a new standard of excellence for talent evaluation and acquisition,” Jim Rushton, global leader for IBM Sports and Entertainment, said in a company statement.

Protecting the data collected and the competitive stakes in the NBA, IBM needs to figure out a way to protect the data. Otherwise, sensitive health data of the players could be exposed. And more importantly, the Lakers may steal the results from the Raptors along with DeMar DeRozan.

It’s unclear whether the Raptors took Watson’s advice, but they drafted Jakob Poeltl, a 7’1” center from the University of Utah, by way of Austria to play alongside 7’0” European Jonas Valanciunas.

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By George R. Lynch